coffee hazelnut tart

Coffee Hazelnut Tart | A Brown Table

Most of yesterday was spent biking one of the trails near our home followed by copious amounts of reading, cleaning and baking. It was pretty routine, nothing out of the ordinary but then this happened! As much as I wanted to, I couldn't attend the IACP:International Association of Culinary Professionals awards in Washington D.C. this year but when I got the news via Twitterverse that I had won the award for Best Photo Based Culinary Blog of 2015, I was shocked and ecstatic. It's an honor and a humbling experience to be included among some of the critically acclaimed people in the food industry and to think that something like this could even happen one day, never crossed my mind. We celebrated with a little feast of homemade pizza topped with barbecue chicken and lots of melted cheese. Your continued support means the world to me, thank you! You can also check out the rest of the winners from this year's awards here at the Washington Post.

Coffee Hazelnut Tart | A Brown Table

Sometime last year, I found out my body reacts badly to high-acid coffee brews. I pretty much reduced drinking coffee to avoid the effects of acid-reflux, the weird "lump-in-your throat" experience but since I'm more of chai drinker, reducing my coffee intake was not too hard. I still find the aroma of freshly brewed coffee very enticing. 

When Califia asked me to try out their new low-acid cold brew coffee, I was more than happy to test it. I've been using it to make a few cups of coffee during the week for us, it tastes good and I haven't had any acid-reflux issues. Because their coffee brew has a nice smooth flavor and taste, I decided to make this tart, that has coffee and hazelnuts. I love hazelnuts and when I do drink coffee, I love a little bit of a hazelnut creamer or even double-dose with a hazelnut coffee brew.

Coffee Hazelnut Tart | A Brown Table
Coffee Hazelnut Tart | A Brown Table
Coffee Hazelnut Tart | A Brown Table
Coffee Hazelnut Tart | A Brown Table

Here are some of my tips that you might find useful when preparing this tart,

  • I like to use tart pans with a removable bottom. They're easy to work with and you don't have to stress out too much when lifting the crust. 
  • Use the clingfilm method I've discussed to line the tart pan with the pastry. It will give you a nice smooth and clean surface.
  • My crust is made from oat flour and almond meal. I wanted it to be very neutral tasting against the stronger flavors of the coffee and hazelnuts. 
  • You will notice, I don't add any sugar to the filling because the creamer I used sweetened the filling perfectly. But I still recommend tasting the liquid before you heat it up to make sure you the sweetness to your desired level.
  • I use gelatin the filling but you can surely use agar-agar if you want to make it vegan. 
  • You will also note, I used Califia's almond creamer but they have one flavored with hazelnut too, if you use that you will get a more intense hazelnut flavor. Either works great.
Coffee Hazelnut Tart | A Brown Table

coffee hazelnut tart 

yields: one 9 inch tart

ingredients 

almond and oat tart shell

1 1/4 cups (4 7/8 ounces) oat flour

2 1/2 cups (5 1/4 ounces) almond flour

1/4 teaspoon fine grain kosher sea salt

4 teaspoons sugar

6 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed a little (keep it in a bowl of hot water to liquefy)

about 1/4 cup candied hazelnuts to decorate (optional)

1. Place all the ingredients from the oat flour to the sugar together in the bowl of a food processor attached with the dough blade and pulse a few times until evenly combined. Pour in the warmed coconut oil and pulse until the mixture comes together and forms crumbs. Transfer the dough to a smooth clean surface such as a marble pastry board and bring it together with your hands to form a ball.

2. Take a fluted 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Cover the base with a circle of parchment paper cut to size. Spray lightly with a neutral baking spray. Transfer the pastry dough to the tart pan and spread it out a little just enough to flatten the ball. Then cover the surface of the pan with a large sheet of cling wrap. Using a large flat surface such as the bottom of a small bowl, bottle or a meat tenderizer or pounder start to spread the pastry out in the pan to form a clean, smooth and even crust. Press the pastry against the sides of the tart pan until the entire tart shell is formed. Cover the tart pan with cling film and freeze for at least 30 minutes before use. 

3. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325F. Remove and unwrap the chilled tart shell. Place it on a baking sheet and cover the surface with a parchment paper cut to size (just large enough to cover the top surface). Pour baking beads or dried beans and blind bake the shell for 35-40 minutes or until the crust gets golden brown rotating the pan half-way through baking. Once the shell is baked, remove from oven and place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate the tart shell in the tart pan until ready to assemble. I recommend wrapping the entire tart pan with the shell in clingfilm if you don't plan to use it the day you made it. 

coffee hazelnut tart filling

yields: enough for one 9 inch tart

ingredients 

1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) raw hazelnuts

1 1/2 sachets gelatin 

4 tablespoons water or almond milk

1. Place the hazelnuts on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake in an oven at 300F for 5-8 minutes. The nuts should be fragrant and turn a light golden brown but should not be burned. Watch them very carefully to avoid burning. As soon as they are lightly browned, transfer the nuts to a clean kitchen towel and wrap them up. Rub the nuts while they are in the towel to remove their skins. if you're using hazelnuts without the skins then you can skip the towel step. Remove the nuts and transfer the warm nuts to a food processor fitted with a regular blade. Pulse for about 8-12 minutes (depends on the strength of your food processor) until the nuts are converted to a smooth butter. 

2. In a separate bowl, pour in the measured almond milk, coffee and creamer. Whisk to combine. Then stir in the hazelnut butter and mix well with the whisk. (Note: I haven't added any sugar as the creamer is sweet enough, however you can add sugar/sweetener at this point if desired, taste the liquid to determine this). Transfer the liquid to a thick bottomed saucepan and heat on a medium high flame until the mixture starts to boil. Boil for 1 minute.

3. While the almond milk liquid is being prepared, add the gelatin to a large bowl containing water/almond milk and allow to bloom. Once the gelatin has bloomed pour the boiling hot liquid from step 2 through a strainer or sieve over the gelatin and allow it to sit for 1 1/2 minutes before stirring with a whisk. 

4. Unwrap the refrigerated tart shell and pour the filling into it just enough to reach the upper edges of the shell (don't overfill). Remove any air bubbles or foam by skimming the surface with a spoon. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes-1 hour before transferring to the refrigerator. Allow to set overnight until firm. Release the tart from the pan by pushing the bottom. Decorate with candied hazelnuts and serve chilled. Cut slices with a clean sharp serrated knife. 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia and all opinions stated here are purely my own.

banana hazelnut pound cake

Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table

Friends, I have a huge favor to ask of you. The nominations for Saveur magazine's annual food blog awards start today and if you like my work, I would be really grateful if you could take a moment to stop by drop my blog's name in their online ballot. Thank you so much for all your support and love thought the years! 

Now, let's get back to today's dessert, it's all about pound cakes. When I think of cakes that might fall into the comfort food/dessert category, I immediately think of pound cakes. They are simple to make and hearty, without the need for any fancy decorations (though you absolutely do something if you wanted to) and can be eaten as a snack or as a treat after a meal. Banana pound cakes are one of my favorites and this cake is extra special because it has one of my favorite nuts thrown in, hazelnuts! 

For all practical purposes when I bake with bananas they are generally overripe. The more ripe the banana, the sweeter the fruit and the aroma is even more intense. The fruity aroma associated with bananas comes from a chemical found in the fruit called isoamyl acetate. If you like to geek out on food biochemistry this paper has an interesting analysis on the different components of bananas and then there's this fun article on bananas from UCLA. Another fun fact about bananas, they are VERY, VERY, VERY and naturally mildly radioactive, they contain a radioactive form of potassium. You'd need to eat several thousands of bananas in one sitting to have any effect from radioactivity, so don't worry about it. 

Hazelnuts have one of the best aromatic flavors from a nut. I think I could consume them in any and every conceivable way. Most of the time, I drink black tea when I wake in the morning but when I do drink coffee, I'll get a hazelnut creamer to flavor it. Chocolate and hazelnuts are another fantastic combination (Nutella!). 

I'm guest posting over at my dear friend Valerie's blog Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine and sharing the recipe for this banana hazelnut pound cake. Valerie is one of my favorite bakers and she comes up with a lot of unique and fun flavors. When she asked me to share a recipe, I knew I would share one of my favorite desserts with some of my favorite flavors.

Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown TableBanana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table
Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table
Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown TableBanana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table
Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table

Here are some of my recipe tips when preparing this pound cake;

  • Use dark skinned overripe bananas for the best flavor.

  • I used a trick I saw on America's Test Kitchen on PBS where they mashed the bananas and then microwaved them to release the liquid from the fruit.

  • You can use raw or toasted hazelnuts in this recipe, they both work great. I kept the skin on to add more visual texture and flavor to the pound cake.

Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table

banana hazelnut pound cake recipe at Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine

Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake
yields: one 9-inch loaf

ingredients
5 overripe bananas
1 3/4 cups (7 18/25 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
3/4 cup (5 7/25 ounces) brown sugar
3 tablespoons dark molasses
5 large eggs, cold
1 teaspoon hazelnut creamer or hazelnut extract
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts with skin, coarsely chopped or crushed (toasted hazelnuts will work fine, too)
baking spray oil, or a little extra butter for greasing cake pan


1. Preheat the oven to 350F.


2. Take one banana and slice it across its length and keep one slice aside, cover with cling film and refrigerate until ready to use. Slice the rest of the bananas along with the single leftover slice and place them in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes and then transfer the fruit to a medium-sized strainer and place it over a bowl. Let this sit for 1 hour without disturbing, you should get around 1 cup of liquid that will drain and collect. Keep strained bananas until ready to use.

3. Place a wire rack at mid-level in the oven. Take a loaf pan and grease it lightly with the spray oil or butter. Line pan with a sheet of parchment paper.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients from the all-purpose flour to the baking soda and set aside until ready to use.

5. Place butter, sugar and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 5 minutes on med-high speed. Add one egg at a time to the creamed butter mixture and mix till combined. Add the hazelnut creamer/extract and mix for 5 seconds on med-high speed.

6. Stop the mixer and add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed for 15 seconds, then increase speed to med-high until just combined. Add the drained banana mixture to the batter and mix on med-high for 2-3 seconds, then add remaining dry ingredients; mix on med-low speed, gradually increasing to med-high. Add hazelnuts and mix for 15 seconds. Once batter is mixed, transfer to prepared loaf pan. Place reserved slice of banana in the center of the loaf. Bake 75-80 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process. The cake will rise and will be done when the outer layer is firm to touch and caramelized. A knife or skewer when passed through the center should come out clean.